On Wednesday, Feb. 14, ASUCR held their 11th senate meeting of the academic year in HUB 221.
Elections Director Taylor Brown announced the names of those set to run for an ASUCR position in the 2018 elections. The candidates announced during the meeting had permitted Brown to release their names publicly and may not represent all of the candidates that filed. The deadline to file for candidacy is Tuesday, Feb. 20.
Carisha Moore, the current executive vice president, was announced as a presidential candidate, along with Diana Jekki, a fourth-year double major in political science-law and society and English. During the meeting, Moore said why she was running, “I genuinely wasn’t going to run, but in light of all the things that have happened in the past few weeks, I thought it was best for the students, for ASUCR, and for all of us, so if you need help, I promise to always stay unbiased in this position.”
In an interview later in the week, Moore, a third-year Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology major, further explained what motivated her to make the decision to run. “A lot of factors influenced my decision in choosing to run. From the beginning, I decided, no, I’m not going to run because after three years of ASUCR it kind of burns you out, I was ready to move on in a sense.” However, Moore said that with several issues beginning to surface such as other candidates that may run for president, coupled with encouragement from supporters to run and a desire to maintain “all of the work we had done,” Moore “realized it would be better for ASUCR, for UCR and for the entire campus if I ran for president.”
Moore explained that she believes the student body deserves a leader who is very passionate about student issues. Though recent events in ASUCR did not shape her will to run entirely, Moore felt that “UCR deserves someone that isn’t about drama and looking good … all of the stuff that is happening, UCR deserves more.”
In regard to her plans if she is elected president, Moore hopes to increase female representation in ASUCR, since, in her view, there has been a dearth of a female perspective in the executive cabinet in the past few years. Though she acknowledged that she does not have concrete plans at the moment, Moore expressed desires to address housing and food insecurity, work more effectively with Costo Hall and expand ASUCR’s community outreach.
Moore also said that she feels optimistic about elections and is excited because elections will be “so much different than last year.” She cited the banning of political parties and laptopping as well as ASUCR’s preparation for a changed electoral landscape as a positive step in fruitful elections. “Everyone has a clean slate, so definitely I see how this will be a healthy and positive election year,” said Moore.
In an interview The Highlander, Jekki explained that she was running because she owes her “strength and growth to the institution” and is “saddened by how it has turned into a political machine in the past few years and I’m at the point where I have contributed all I can to the offices I have served and that President is the only place left where I still have the opportunity to grow and learn.”
Primarily, Jekki hopes to reform the inner operations of ASUCR and create a more mentor-based approach that “invests in the well-being and development of each student who comes through AS (Associated Students).” Additionally, Jekki wants to cut the stipends for the executive cabinet members and use those funds for organizations like the R’Pantry, work with Transportation and Parking Services to alleviate parking issues, strengthen ASUCR’s lobbying efforts to represent students during periods of tuition increases and restructure ASUCR overall to better represent the students.
In regard to her attitude toward this year’s elections, Jekki stated “Carisha (Moore) and I are very excited to be running and when we last talked we both expressed our excitement in this election hopefully bringing ASUCR back to being the institution it was meant to be, and not the political machine it has been.” She later said that, through their mutual respect for one another, they can set an example for candidates and show that ASUCR can still do “good things even while crippled by political greed of generations before ours.”
Moore echoed this sentiment, stating that in a conversation between her and Jekki, they found they would be happy “if either of us win, we agreed that there needs to be more women’s representation in ASUCR because there has been a lack of.”
Though there have been rumors circulating in ASUCR about current Vice President of Internal Affairs Semi Cole’s possible run for president, his name was not announced during the meeting. Cole did not respond to numerous requests for comment by time of print regarding his potential campaign.
Based on the announcement Wednesday, some are not seeking to run. CHASS Senator Mariam Alkhalili decided that since she may be graduating early and has aspirations to move on to law school, it was best to focus on her academics as well as study for the Law School Admission Test.
Alkhalili explained that she will be involved with elections since she sits on the elections committee and will be working with some candidates in an advisory role by counseling them on her experience as well as the different regulations governing elections. She also intends on remaining active on campus through her activity in Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Student Association. She also intends to work with ASUCR on such issues as more campus lighting to make students feel safer as well as maintain connections with the committee she founded, R’Feed, to address food insecurity.
Looking back on her time as a senator, Alkhalili said she had enjoyed her time at ASUCR. She acknowledged that though she feels she did not accomplish everything she had planned, she believes she can fulfill her goals in the remaining quarters. “I feel like I gave the position 100 percent and I am hoping I can accomplish a lot more by the time the end of spring quarter comes around,” stated Alkhalili.
- Two student representatives from the Menstrual Hygiene Club spoke to encourage ASUCR and the administration to sponsor installing menstrual hygiene products in women’s and gender neutral bathrooms on campus. They described a current pilot program supplying products to Orbach and Rivera libraries and the HUB and conducting surveys of women before and after the program as well as each week.
- Student Daniel Wong presented a short powerpoint on the CalGrant, a grant from the state of California toward college costs, encouraging senators to advocate for extending the CalGrant over summer.
- The Highlander News Referendum, a measure that will appear on the 2018 ASUCR elections ballot to continue funding the Highlander Newspaper, was reapproved by the senate for a $1 fee increase instead of the previous $2. It was passed 7-2-0.
- To remain consistent with the ASUCR constitution, the minimum GPA to run for office will now be a 2.5. It had been listed as a 2.0 in the elections bylaws, but, per Moore, since the constitution must be followed, the 2.5 would be the new minimum. It was passed 9-1-0.